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Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #2164442
A short story focused on a woman and her need to be in control.


Dark Days Do Come

Carissa Cortes sought control of herself, her home, and her world. She defined success by her career, character, and kids. Her calculated life was timed to the minute. Her choreographed existence felt like contentment.

Dark days did come; they were occasional and unwelcomed. That morning started with faces and words, none of them comprehensible. The county contract on which she counted to keep the architecture firm on budget that quarter had not come through. After the call from the county planning officials, she didn’t feign interest on the day’s remaining drudgery.

That afternoon her twins boarded an aircraft en route to their father’s new duty station, Camp Cooke. During the drive to the airport, they talked of the fun to be had. Carissa concerned herself with everything that could go wrong.

When it was time to go, she waved at them until they could no longer see her. For fifteen minutes, she cried in her car before leaving airport parking. She knew they would be cared for; Francisco was a good father. But, Carissa preferred to have their twins at her side. Her mother-instincts ensured their safety. Half the country away, how could she protect them?

Done with her day, Carissa entered the house through the kitchen. It felt quiet. Unnatural. Carissa changed into cream yoga pants and her favorite tank top. She replaced her contact lenses with fuchsia-framed glasses. Carissa undid the ballerina bun spilling caramel colored tresses to her waist and ran a hand through it. Thanks to her parents’ stern beliefs, she had never colored her hair. She thought of the twins’ cocoa curls. They looked nothing like her but did share her beautiful brown hair.

“Vino.” She took one last look in the mirror then walked back to the kitchen.

Carissa opened the cabernet that had been purchased that evening. When the twins were in town, she didn’t drink. Tonight, she was going to wind down. She brought the glass to her lips. Her mobile rang.

“Babies!”

“Mami, don’t call us that no more.” Talia said.

Carissa smiled. "You will always be mami’s babies."

“But we're not babies. We flew by ourselves to California.” Tatiana agreed. Carissa envisioned the bobbing brown curls.

“Do not remind me, cariñitos. Was it okay?"

"Yes mami." They said in unison.

"Good. You happy to see your father?” She rolled the taste of cabernet around her tongue.

“Papi’s getting married; we’re going to be in the wedding.” Talia said.

A smattering of hushes and scolds came from the twins’ line. Carissa envisioned Tatiana. She acted ten years, not ten minutes, older than her sister.

“I’m sorry mama.” Tali and Tati both said.

Carissa swallowed the dry lump in her throat. “I’m happy for your papi, girls! I will send the dresses you wore for Carina’s wedding." Carissa recalled how much the twins enjoyed the coveted roles of wedding participants in their aunt’s special day.

“Actually, they’re getting new stuff for the wedding.” Francisco had taken her off speakerphone.

Carissa swallowed a drink of wine and kept her thoughts to herself. He still treated her as if he was her commanding officer.

“I should have called you before the twins landed.”

Before the twins landed; was he serious? Carissa laughed. “Oh, is getting married something that you decided to do just today, Francisco?” She enunciated every syllable of his name. “Because unless you decided just today to marry then… yeah, maybe you should have told me before the twins landed. Maybe, you should have told me before buying their tickets.”

“Oh, is that right, ‘Mama Caro’?” Francisco said. Mama Caro was a bossy bitch and Carissa’s least favorite family member.

Carissa rolled her eyes. He never understood that all she wanted was to be a partner in their marriage, in raising their children. “I could have prepared them. That’s why. Instead, they are being told, ‘hey meet this lady and by the way, she’s going to be your new mommy.’”

Francisco softened. He understood. “Cariño, I am not trying to make her their mommy. My twins have a mami. A mami maravillosa.”

Carissa’s eyes teared.

“Besides, do you think I have not prepared them? Last summer, I told them about Sarah and they met her before returning to you. They spent time with her during my Christmas break. They met her kids during spring break.”

The twins never said a thing to her about their father’s new relationship. “Nothing to worry about then.” Carissa sounded robotic. She rolled her eyes once again, this time at herself. “Please send me photos of the twins in their dresses.”

"Yes, Cariño."

“And, Francisco…” She paused. "It’s been four years, don't call me Cariño."

“Of course.”

Carissa placed the phone on the counter after hanging up. She took the wine bottle out on the deck. She looked at the horizon; stars covered the darkened sky. The girls had tried to save her feelings. Carissa was supposed to be protecting them, not the other way around.

“Oh twinkle, twinkle, little star sparkle down from afar.” She took a gulp of wine, this time from the bottle.

It wasn’t the stars sparkling down upon Carissa. It was the lights of a plane crashing into her. Carissa sought control- of herself, her home, and her world. But as hard as she tried, control could not come. Besides, control is an illusion. Seconds before the aircraft hit her home, Carissa was clear on that. Surprising her, Carissa thanked the stars above that Talia and Tatiana were with their father. And, she hoped his wife would be a good mom to their twins.
© Copyright 2018 Amada Addair (gabrielaa3 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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